Woollim Entertainment’s newest group Drippin made their first ever comeback this week. Like many of the current male rookies out there, I know *of* them but not much *about* them. The main thing I’m aware of is that former X1 alumni Cha Junho is a member (and possibly the group’s face?), along with several other Produce X 101 participants. I do remember liking their debut single, so I decided to check out their latest release as well.
“Young Blood” is a house style track that blends Drippin’s smooth vocals with a beat ready for the club. It kind of reminds me of another boy group song I like, but I can’t quite put my finger on which one. I was thinking of Wanna One’s “Energetic” because the chords in the intro are kind of similar, but there’s another song that I’m totally drawing a blank on. (This is the downfall of listening to so many different groups all the time.) In any case, it’s a very trendy sound that usually proves to be popular with listeners. And there are some interesting musical embellishments – it’s so hard for me to describe sounds and put them into words, but I like the main effect that’s kind of somewhere between a bell and a xylophone. It’s not something that I’ll listen to a lot, but it’s an objectively good song.
I also enjoy the choreography, which is probably my favorite part of the comeback per usual. Like many K-pop releases, I feel like watching the performance just elevates my interest more. And this is particularly true for Drippin, a group I don’t know well, because it’s easier for me to identify with idols as performers rather than watching a music video that focuses on visuals. Woollim artists tend to have high-level choreographies, and “Young Blood” is the same. It’s packed with eye-catching moves and key points, and the members definitely pay a lot of attention to detail. Though a decent amount of dancing is shown in the music video, I think it would have been nice to depict some of the more exciting moments. There’s this move towards the beginning where the members are on the ground and do a fan kick while spinning their leg several times; that would have definitely caught my attention if I’d seen it during the music video.
While I think “Young Blood” is quite nice, it doesn’t stick with me as much as some other songs that have come out lately. Its smooth and polished sound is indeed very trendy, but the potential downside is that it won’t necessarily stand out that much – especially to someone like me, who consumes a lot of K-pop from many different groups. Personally, I found Drippin’s debut song “Nostalgia” to have more of a unique sound. I’m also listening to their new album as I write this, and I hear one or two other songs that seem like better indicators of their own specific flair and what they bring to the table.
To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “Young Blood” at all. It’s just Drippin is a rookie group looking to establish themselves in the industry, and there’s SO much competition out there. I think at least 75% of the releases I’ve written about so far this year have been young boy rookie groups who are freshly debuted or have been active for less than three years. They ALL have to set themselves apart from the others quickly, which makes the first few releases so important. And while I think “Young Blood” is great, it may not be the comeback that does that.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
Ultimately, I don’t think this is the comeback to make me more interested in Drippin. It’s hard for me to get into groups when I don’t have a good feel for their musical and/or aesthetic identities, which is pretty much what’s happening here. And that’s not Drippin’s fault, because they’re rookies and they’re still finding their path. My policy is always to keep an open mind during a group’s first few releases. (Well, I always do this anyway, but I try to keep an *extra* open mind for rookies.) If anything, I think it has to do with Woollim and their preference for fitting their boy groups into a certain mold. When I was watching the music video for “Young Blood,” my main reaction was that I thought it didn’t seem that far off from a Golden Child song. And some of the aesthetics and outfits were kind of similar, too.
I’m not saying that Golden Child and Drippin are exactly the same, but there’s not a whole lot to differentiate them at this point just yet. And that’s a shame for both groups, because they both deserve their own separate images. Woollim’s two girl groups Lovelyz and Rocket Punch have different concepts, so I don’t see why the company can’t apply that to their boy groups as well. (And no, I haven’t forgotten INFINITE; it’s just that they haven’t done a full group comeback for a while now, so they’re not really part of the point I’m trying to prove.) Hopefully, Woollim will figure out how to make Drippin stand out more in the future – both from their senior group and the competition out there. But they most certainly have a lot of promise, so I have faith it will happen.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to Woollim Entertainment.